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Orange Pith

From the August 1985 issue of the Socialist Standard

Orange Myths

It is Sunday 7 July. In Portadown this morning a riot took place and working people, including policemen, were hurt; some were arrested. Another battle  . . . another myth . . . another contribution to the bitterness and hatred that divide the working class in Northern Ireland.

The government and police and wanted to ban this morning's march through the exclusively Catholic Obins Street district. The marchers, Orangemen going to church accompanied by bands playing sectarian tunes and flaunting sectarian symbols, refused to obey the Government, the police and the law despite their vociferous protestations of loyalty to all three. The police - probably working on the assumption that they could cope more easily with the Catholics than they could with the loyalists - gave in and the march took place. The holy men of the Orange Order marched defiantly through Obins Street to communicate with their god.

The Orange Order in…

The Walking Dead

The Orange Order endeavours to dismiss any suggestion of class struggle as the following ditty demonstrates:


"Let not the poor man hate the rich
Nor rich on poor look down
But each join each true Orange Order
For God and the Crown."

Keep on walking

46 parades of up to 8,000 Orangemen will march through Glasgow's city centre today with a number of them converging on Cathedral Square. In all, 174 parades taking place throughout the Strathclyde police force area. Henry Dunbar, Grand Master of the Orange Order, said: "The annual Glasgow Boyne Celebrations is the city's biggest street event" An impressive event, perhaps, but highly divisive and sectarian in character. 

The Orange Order warned that Scotland is a "nation in turmoil" and raised concerns over the "separatist campaign". Grand Master Henry Dunbar urged members to back the Union. The Orange Order called on the Church of Scotland to stand up for the country's protestant heritage. "We are dismayed by the dismal failure of our national church, the Church of Scotland, to exert influential leadership in matters of faith and morality. It is a sad reflection that in today's society, many protestants now consider that the Orange O…

Give the Orange Lodge their marching orders!

 “Cathy cats eat the rats, Proddy dogs eat the frogs”

As part of the Queen's 60th Jubilee the Protestant, pro-monarchist Orange Order staged numerous parades and held street parties to commemorate the day.

The Orange Order has its origin in Ireland, where in the 18th century Protestant and Catholic farmers banded together in defense of each other in secret societies and informal militias. The structure of the Order was modeled after the Freemasons, and the name was chosen to show support for William of Orange, the man who had replaced James II in 1690. Early in their history, the Order was mostly an agrarian movement, and was not particularly popular with the gentry. They were seen as a potential problem. It was feared that they would turn on the aristocracy. This changed when the United Irishmen entered the scene in Ireland in the 1780s, with their revolutionary ideas, and posed an even greater threat to the gentry. The reality was that the Orange Order became a counter-revoluti…

The red white and blue of Larkhall

The Scotsman describes the religious bigotry of the Central Scotland town of Larkhall where the colour green and the connotations lead to vandalism and the only "safe" colours is the red and white and blue of Glasgow Rangers and the Union Jack .

"...historians believe anti-Catholicism to have been greater in mining towns such as Larkhall, where Irish Catholics were used by pit owners to break strikes. So the fuel was as much economic fear as it was cultural dilution of Protestant stock, the idea which found support in sections of the Church of Scotland in the 1920s and 1930s..."

By playing the "orange card" the bosses employed the divide and rule tactic to weaken the Scottish workers and the consequences linger on to this day .

Isn't it time to discover class loyalty rather than loyalty to the crown ?